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Zippy - Peter Hentges

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November 10th, 2006


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02:26 pm - Zippy
I have decided on how I want to address my current lack of vehicular motivation: Zipcar.

I live near the University and I work downtown. I don't need a car every day. Most of my car-needing trips are for short jaunts to the homes of friends or for an afternoon of errands.

Getting to any of the campus parking spots will be an easy bus from work or home. Any time I reserve a car, I get 125 miles for free and pay $8/hour. The miles are what swung me from the similar HOURCAR service. That and, while Zipcar has an annual membership fee, HOURCAR charges theirs monthly. A few months of that would add up to the annual fee for Zipcar. So this way, I get to try out the service for one low price and pay only for as much car as I use. If I end up using a car enough to justify the monthly expense to HOURCAR, I can switch without any additional costs.

So I filed my application and we'll see if they approve it. I have some trepidation on that count as there was that thing a while back with me getting my license revoked for stupidly forgetting to pay a traffic ticket. We'll see, I guess. It also remains to be seen if the service will be convenient enough for me to actually use it.

Edited to add: I've been approved! That was quick! If I hadn't elected to have my passcard mailed to me, I could go pick it up and get a car tomorrow! As it is, I'll likely end up getting it in the mail Monday or Tuesday.
Current Mood: excitedzippy
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[User Picture]
From:kashma
Date:November 10th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
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We have a similar program here in Portland, called SmartCar, if I recall correctly. I'd do it, but I have to commute 18 miles each way to work, so it's not really feasible. I have friends that use it and are quite happy, so long as the last person who used it returns it on time. Sometimes that's a problem.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 10th, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
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My friend iamnikchick uses a similar service in Seattle, too. Funny they call it SmartCar, what I would jump for a chance at is buying a smart car, but they won't be for sale in the US until late 2007.

Yeah, the having a car on time thing will be something that I'll have to see how it goes. Since they're targetting University students as part of their market, I'm not certain how reliable things will be.
[User Picture]
From:ckd
Date:November 10th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
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They will whap you with a fine if you don't return it on time and someone else has the car booked; people will learn, one way or the other.
[User Picture]
From:ckd
Date:November 10th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
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We have Zipcar in Boston, and around here there are lots of cars. My employer also subsidizes the yearly membership fee, which doesn't hurt. (We're on a "yearly fee + usage" plan rather than a "monthly minimum" plan.)

We still don't own even one car, and this is our 11th year in this house....
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 10th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
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One of the things that worries me a bit about this is the lack of cars in Mpls. Only three parking hubs and it looks like only two cars at each. I'm thinking that there could be a shortage of cars on popular days (holidays, weekends and the like).

One reason I went with Zipcar is the ability to use my membership in other cities. Chicago and SF are relatively frequent travel destinations and having the ability to use a car relatively cheaply in Boston, Toronto or DC makes traveling there more likely.
[User Picture]
From:ckd
Date:November 10th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
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At least around here, they've been good about adding cars to areas that get lots of use. (Of course, living near and working at MIT, which sponsors a number of spots, doesn't hurt.)

We've never not been able to find some car. Even so, one time we had to use the MIT-community-only car in the Stata Center garage, because everything else for a couple miles around was already booked....
[User Picture]
From:pegkerr
Date:November 10th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
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It's a very clever, environmentally sound and budget-friendly system, it sounds like, and I hope it works out for you.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 10th, 2006 10:13 pm (UTC)
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I'd be a tad happier if they had hybrid Priuses like HOURCAR does, but the environmental aspect was one that appealed to me too.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 11th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
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I saw the HOURCAR hub near you! I thought it would be a good option for me for MN-Stf meetings since most of them are in south Mpls anyway. Take the bus to the train to the hub and drive from there. I'll let you know how this works out for me.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 7th, 2007 12:28 am (UTC)

HOURCAR

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I'm glad you've joined the car-sharing movement! You're already saving money on your transportation, as well as the environment, by joining Zipcar. However, I hope you don't mind me pointing out that HOURCAR is actually cheaper if you drive more than 4.5 hours a month! I realize our pricing is a bit complicated, but if you run the numbers, you will see that we have custom packages you can use to bring your expenses down. Give HOURCAR another look - the cars are even better for the planet, and there are 15 hubs around the Cities. There's got to be one near you!
- Joe Zimsen
HOURCAR Program Manager
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:March 8th, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)

Re: HOURCAR

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Thanks for commenting (though I doubt you'll see this reply). I'll definitely keep HOURCAR in mind. I am, as it turns out, drivng less than 4.5 hours per month; in fact I hardly drive at all anymore! You folks do have a lot of hubs downtown and Uptown and those would be relatively easy to get to by bus. Zipcar's campus location gives me a tad more convenience as I could easily bike or moderately easily walk to their hubs.

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